The Aspire E-15 E5 575G 53VG from Acer is a budget laptop that is intended for the everyday PC user who wants a decent amount of computing power for tasks such as web browsing, light gaming, spreadsheets, etc. You should not expect to get 60+ fps on the latest AAA titles with this little 15.6” notebook, because that would require you to spend upwards of a thousand dollars. But while there are many costlier options out there, you might be thinking- is this sufficient for you? Should you spend 1000 dollars instead on something that is more powerful and be future proof for say, the next 2-3 years? Well, here is the deal- laptops are inherently behind the curve when it comes to future proofing and upgradability, so if those are your main concerns, then even a 2500 dollar machine from Alienware, MSI, or Asus won’t help out in that regard. Laptops are designed to be portable and handy- not upgradeable. Yes, the RAM and hard disk drive/SSD can be upgraded, but that’s about it.
In terms of power- do you really need a Core i7, or even a Core i5 to browse webpages, watch videos, or to play games such as Minecraft, World of Wacraft, Counter Strike, or League of Legends? The answer is clearly NO. Indeed, the i5 is a much better choice for multitasking but laptop core i5’s are different from their desktop counterparts in the sense that they pack fewer cores, but have hyper threading, meaning that they are good at processing multiple threads or sets of instructions at the same time even with the physical core count limitations (in comparison to a non-hyper threaded CPU). So, if you were eyeing some other laptop with an AMD APU or A-series processing unit inside, consider this- our Acer E-15 over here packs an Intel 6th generation Skylake Core i5-6200U CPU with 2 physical cores, 4 threads, and a base clock of 2.4 GHz that can turbo all the way up to 2.8 GHz when your application demands it. This processor is quite simply put, one of the best mobile CPU’s that you will find in the mobile i5 lineup from Intel, and it rolls on more than enough horsepower to run a light game, a bunch of browser windows in the background, and an antivirus scan- all at the same time, thanks to its turbo boost and hyper threading capabilities. We shall discuss more about the specific aspects of this laptop in the sections below, so take a look-
Well, nothing exceptional here. The laptops lid may seem like brushed metal but is actually plastic with a really nice finish on top that gives the illusion of an aluminum exterior. The same applies for the rest of the body, including the base- all plastic. But surprisingly, the body does not seem flimsy or weak at all unlike some cheaper HP and Dell machines which have quite a bit of flex in their lids, especially around the screens. Have you ever seen the hinges break on some HP Pavilion notebooks from the 2012-2014 series? Well, that was cheap construction. No such issues with our Acer over here- the hinges are thick and feel heavy, while the panel around the keyboard is made from thick plastic and feels like it can take a hit and survive. The base has 4 large rubber pads so the laptop won’t slip around on a table or any other smooth surface. The battery pack is slim and easy to remove, while the easy access panels on the bottom can be removed by unscrewing two screws, so RAM and storage upgrades are super easy as long as you have a simple Philips-head screwdriver. Cooling vents are large, and the sides pack 2 USB 3.1 type C ports, a single USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a VGA output (very useful for connecting some older projectors), and a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) port. Wi-Fi is 802.11 a/c, so you’re getting the latest and greatest when it comes to wireless connectivity.
This is like any other budget laptop keyboard which you’ll find on a 500-800 dollar notebook from just about any company (except Lenovo of course, their island style laptop keyboards are simply great). But, there’s a catch- you have an adjustable white backlight underneath all keys- something that a lot of 500-600 dollar laptops will not offer. This is something that Sony Vaio laptops used to have, even on their cheaper models, but that lineup of notebooks is pretty much dead right now. The backlight is super useful since you might find it helpful while working at night, and it really gives the entire machine a nice look when lit up. Thanks to the fake brushed metal finish and fully backlit keyboard, this otherwise affordable laptop looks pretty premium from a distance. And yeah, this is a full-size keyboard and includes a numeric keypad unlike some Dell Inspiron models in this price range that come with trimmed down, mediocre keyboards.
The audio on this Acer E-15 may not be the best, but is still pretty amazing for a budget laptop. This laptop does not come with any fancy speakers designed by premium third party audio solution manufacturers such as Bose or Beats, but Altec Lansing and Dolby Digital still did a pretty good job with the stereo speaker configuration on this little Acer. It sounds snappy, with rich and well defined midranges, while the lows are slightly flat. The highs sound clear enough- definitely not the best for listening to instrumentals or symphonies, but are still good enough for that occasional movie viewing session with your friends in the college dorm room. You will not get a ton of bass, and the inbuilt headphone jack amplifier is not very powerful but still manages to drive most low-mid range headphones with ease.
This is your average TN panel 1080p laptop display. The viewing angles are nothing spectacular, and the color gamut is not nearly as good as you would expect. Honestly, we were glad to see that Acer included a full HD display in this laptop, considering the price of this thing. It is a good 15.6” screen, with enough brightness for you to use it outside of the buildings in your college campus, but don’t try that directly under the sun since the brightness is not nearly as much as a good IPS panel or even a decent TN panel. Response times are around the 4-5 millisecond mark, while refresh rate is the standard 60 Hz. Viewing angles are limited and the image will appear skewed if you view it from the bottom, or the sides. You will find the display more than adequate to watch an occasional movie or play some games, and it will do just fine for viewing those photos that you captured on your smartphone or digital camera. The top of the display packs a microphone and a 720p HD webcam for Skype and other similar live video chats.
How Much Horsepower does it Pack-
With a core i5-6200U and 8 gigabytes of DDR4 clocked at 2133 MHz, you are pretty much capable of running most productivity suites and even some CAD software, as long as you set realistic expectations. The Intel CPU inside this little machine packs 2 physical cores and can process 4 threads simultaneously-better than a dual core, not as good as a true quad-core. But it is still miles ahead of most quad core AMD APU’s in terms of CPU performance. The RAM can be upgraded to 16 GB, and you will find the 256 GB M.2 SSD in this laptop to be pretty handy while booting up or loading your favorite games. Honestly, that is the single best aspect of this budget laptop- the inclusion of a 256 GB M.2 SSD. One more thing to note is the fact that there is a dedicated NVIDIA GPU soldered onto the motherboard of this laptop. It is the GTX 940MX, and packs a generous amount of graphics horsepower along with 2 gigs of GDDR5 VRAM. Not the best dedicated graphics solution in town, but miles better than an Intel onboard graphics solution. And we must add in the fact that you can upgrade the storage by adding a 2nd 2.5” SSD or HDD by removing the easy access panel on the bottom of the laptop.
This is not a gaming machine, nor should you expect it to run demanding games at acceptable framerates. You can run some AAA titles by compromising on graphics quality if you wish playable framerates. Upgrade the RAM to 16 GB and throw in a large HDD for storing all your favorite games, movies, songs, etc. and you’ve got yourself a great portable light-gaming/multimedia laptop. Games such as LOL, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, CS GO, and Dota 2 should run at 60 fps with medium settings and a native resolution of 1080p. If you move to recent AAA titles such as GTA V, COD, Battlefield, Hitman, etc. you can get the games to run by turning down the graphics quality to low, albeit at slightly less than optimal frame rates (30-40 fps).
The NVIDIA 940MX GPU will zip along with ease while playing 1080 movies or videos, and you can attach an external USB DAC or soundcard if you wish to connect any larger speakers to this laptop, or if you want to use your high-end headphones with it. You can also use the HDMI port to hook this laptop up with your HD TV in the bedroom/living room and suddenly you’ve got yourself an amazing couch/bed based movie center setup. This laptop will make for an amazing portable HTPC (home theater PC), and you can stream online content, while watching videos and downloading songs at the same time, thanks to the multithreaded performance of the Intel Core i5 6200U.
While Acer claims that the 6-cell Li-Ion battery on this notebook will last for 12-hours, we cannot certify or verify that statement since we do not know what software they were using, what applications they were running, or what power state/ brightness levels they used. So here is a more realistic prediction- 8 or 9 hours while doing light tasks such as browsing the web or working on spreadsheets/ MS Word, 5-6 hours while watching movies and listening to songs while browsing the web, 1-2 hours while playing games, 40 minutes-1 hour if you’re running something like GTA V with the computer set to maximum performance and more 75% brightness. We assumed brightness to be at 50% while browsing the web or watching movies, and we also didn’t account for background processes such as antivirus, VPN, Skype, updates, etc. Keep in mind the fact that battery will drain faster with the following things turned on- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. If you have just upgraded your E-15 with more RAM and an extra hard disk drive, expect a 5-10% decrease in battery life.
We would definitely recommend this laptop to anybody who is looking for a portable casual-gaming/ home-theater PC under 600 to 700 bucks. It weighs less than 4.5 pounds and is pretty slim, while packing a full HD display, backlit keyboard, dedicated graphics chip, 8 gigs of RAM, a M.2 SSD, and a core i5 6th gen CPU from Intel. What more do you need at this price? Don’t forget the 802.11 a/c Wi-Fi, and the amazing brushed metal finish on the top panel (well, it is actually fake… but awesome nevertheless!). So ask yourself- are you a college student who needs something that is light and portable, does not eat up much of your student loan, and can run light games with ease? Do you want to play 6 videos at the same time in Chrome, with 10 tabs opened on Mozilla in the background, and an antivirus running at the same time? Maybe throw in some music and a movie to stress it even more? Well guess what- the Core i5 6200U will handle all of that easily, you won’t notice any lag thanks to the 4-threaded CPU and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, not to mention the fact that we even have an M.2 SSD in the mix. If you’re keen on playing stuff like LOL, DOTA 2, CS GO- then look no further. However, if you wish to watch 1080P movies while streaming and downloading content simultaneously… well, make sure your internet connection is pretty damn good, because this laptop is more than capable of doing all that stuff and you can even work on MS Office at the same time without noticing any lag AT ALL. In conclusion, we would like to say that the Acer Aspire E-15 E5-575G-53V is definitely a killer deal.